12 Oct 2021

Plans unveiled for 'Super Saturday' televised event to boost vaccination numbers

8:17 pm on 12 October 2021

Aotearoa is set to host its first-ever 'Vaxathon' - a nationwide event aimed at boosting vaccination numbers by around 100,000.

Vaccination for people to prevent viral disease

The Vaxathon encourages New Zealanders - particularly young Māori, Pacific and those who are disabled - to get vaccinated. Photo: 2021 Getty Images

The event will run from 12pm to 8pm this Saturday and will be broadcast on multiple platforms, including TV3, Māori Television and on Hahana's Facebook page.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made clear at today's Covid-19 update that she was supportive of 'Super Saturday', saying that vaccination helped protect vulnerable people and children and to "get back to a life that feels a little more normal".

Watch Jacinda Ardern's endorsement of the Vaxathon.

Group manager of equity for the Ministry of Health's Covid-19 vaccine and immunisation programme Tamati Sheppard-Wipiiti said everyone has a role to play by getting vaccinated.

"We're calling for a massive collective effort to make this happen," he said.

"By far the biggest and most powerful weapon we have in our fight against Covid-19 is vaccination - so we really need everyone from our whānau, families and communities to step up and play their part, and to help us reach those who have not yet come forward."

Bailey Mackey, from Pango Productions, said the Vaxathon encouraged New Zealanders - particularly young Māori, Pacific and tāngata whaikaha (those living with a disability) - to get vaccinated.

"Well-known celebrities, influencers and health professionals will front the live broadcast, crossing over to Covid-19 vaccination sites to capture the atmosphere and experiences of those receiving their first or second vaccine.

"A live data board, updated in real time, will provide progress measures of how each region is tracking."

Mackey said he knew from first-hand experience that many Māori were mistrusting of the 'system' and Saturday's event would help engage with them "in a meaningful way".

Tāhuhu rangapū (chief executive) of Māori Television, Shane Taurima, said a new record for Māori vaccinations was set earlier this week with more than 10,000 doses given to whānau Māori and the Vaxathon will help push these numbers even higher.

As well as various government agencies, some New Zealand businesses are supporting the initiative to help with vaccine uptake in communities around Aotearoa.

Currently 82 percent of eligible New Zealanders aged 12 and over have had their first dose of the vaccine, and 58 percent have had their second dose and are now fully vaccinated.

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